James Ammons: Florida A&M President Resigns Over Hazing Death

James Ammons, the President of Florida A&M University has resigned following the hazing death scandal of late drum major Robert Champion.

The FAMU president’s decision comes after a controversial school year, which began when student and drum major Robert Champion died after being hazed, reports The Washington Post. The announcement came the same day that Champion’s family sued the school, and will take effect on October 11th.

Champion passed away in November, after being beaten by his fellow band members aboard a bus, which was parked outside a Orlando hotel. The incident took place as the students were getting back from a football game.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that 11 people have been charged with felonies in connection with Robert Champion’s death, after more evidence has surfaced which points to a culture of hazing among the students of the Marching 100, which the university has been unable to control.

The Board of Trustees have handed Ammons a vote of no confidence on June 7th, with an 8-4 vote.


James Ammons’ letter indicates that, although he will be leaving on October 11th, he plans to, “continue my work on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives as a tenured full professor on our great faculty.” Throughout the whole letter, the President of FAMU made no mention of hazing or Robert Champion’s death, except to say that:

“I am determined to move all of the major challenges toward resolution and move our university toward success. When the next president experiences her or his transition in, she or he will very likely find additional challenges, albeit not nearly to the extent of that which I faced at the outset, or those I am now facing.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Solomon Badger, the Trustees Chairman, who is a supporter of Ammons, expressed his disappointment that the President will be resigning. He said in a prepared statement that:

“I am saddened by President Ammons’ decision to resign, but it is his choice to do so. Given all that has transpired, it seems to be in the best interest of the University and I applaud him for putting FAMU ahead of his personal goals.”